Into the opera house of your dreams, project, if you please, Franco Zeffirelli’s festival premiere of Lo Schiavo (The Slave). Set in colonial Brazil, the plot revolves around a Portuguese plantation owner’s Byronic son (the tenor) and an enslaved Indian chief (the baritone) who first bond and then clash over the Indian slave girl they both adore (the prima donna soprano).

The music is from the pen of Antônio Carlos Gomes, a Brazilian whose operatic career took off in Rio de Janeiro but exploded in Italy when Brazil’s Emperor Pedro II sent him there on scholarship for further study. In time, no shabbier an authority than Giuseppe Verdi would declare Gomes a “true musical genius.”